FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–UGA Sports Communications
ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia Bulldogs practiced in full pads for nearly two hours on Tuesday afternoon in Athens, a workout that pleased head coach Kirby Smart. Georgia is now four days away from the season opener against North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome.
“It was hot out there today, but the kids pushed hard,” Smart said. “I’m really proud of the way they’re practicing because they’re pushing hard. They pushed hard yesterday. They pushed hard today. We’ve had good, physical practices the last two days so I’ve been pleased with that. We’re getting to work on a lot more of the game plan so that’s a positive.”
Smart was asked about the presence of former Bulldog Kevin Butler working with Georgia’s kickers at practice. Butler was a two-time All-American for the Bulldogs and the first placekicker inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He also enjoyed a long career in the NFL, scoring 1,208 points and winning a Super Bowl title with the Chicago Bears during the 1985 season.
“We’ve been waiting on that question,” Smart said. “I’ve been waiting on somebody. We’ve had bets on who would ask that question. He is an undergraduate student. He’s finishing up his degree, which allows him to help us. I think it’s the greatest asset that a first-year coach could have, especially for somebody who has not dealt on the psychological level of kickers. Who better to have than one of the greatest to ever kick in the game?
“Obviously, he’s not able to be there every day,” Smart continued. “He’s got classes. He has his personal life and his family. I’m very grateful that he’s willing to do it. He’s a great asset to those guys, sort of a sounding board. A lot of places don’t have guys who they can talk to. He’ll be with us a couple of days a week.”
The Bulldogs are ranked No. 16 and No. 18 in the USA Today coaches and Associated Press preseason polls, respectively. North Carolina is No. 20 in the coaches’ ledger and No. 22 according to the AP. Kickoff for Saturday’s contest has been set for 5:31 p.m. on ESPN.